At 8:10 AM today, I got a call from my stepmom. I was brushing my teeth when I heard it. They're the only ones who call so early. Sure enough...

I called her back and she said, "I just want to tell you that the [home care worker] called to say she can't come after all today because her paperwork is screwed up." Much grunting with pain...short, sharp breaths. I know I'm expected to say, "Oh, I'll be right over to help you bathe, listen to repetitive long stories, do your laundry..." I just don't. Don't want to. Just won't.

Called the supervisor. She says, "Oh, we have told them three times that they will just need to sign a paper timesheet today because the system is down, but the worker is on her way."

I call them back to report. They tell me about recent bowel movements.

Get a call back from my voicemail this morning. It's the supervisor's supervisor telling me the same thing and asking me, "Why don't they pick up the phone? I've left six messages..." I explain that although the phone is often 18" from her head, she can't remember what to do with it when it rings sometimes...I tell the supervisor to call back 2-3 times in succession and eventually, she'll pick up. I tell her (for the 200,000th time) that my stepmom doesn't know how to retrieve voicemail messages. Hang up.

(Seriously? Is this my life now?)

Instantly, I get a call from the physical therapist. "I can't find the address..." I explain. Hang up.

Get a call from the MIA home care worker, "I'm on my way, but they're not picking up the phone." I know, I say. Continue.

(Breathe. I can handle this.)

Within 2 minutes, I get a call from the physical therapist, "I found their address, I think, but no one is opening the door."

I ask if the door she's facing is missing the doorbell and there are just 3 large holes. Yes. Two weeks ago, my father decided he didn't like the sound of the chimes, so he disconnected it. He will never, ever, ever get around to fixing it. After he moved into the place I bought them, the first thing he did was unscrew three of the electical outlet boxes. That was seven months ago...they're still exposed and unable to be used. (He used to be an electrician, they're not unsafe)

I tell her to knock twice. She does it while I am on the phone. Nothing. She's too gentle. I tell her to slam on it. Nothing.

I call my dad three times. When I get him, I plan to tell him to open the door, but when he picks up, his first words are "hold on..." He's making his typical series of grunts and puffing, which he does ever since his wife started getting all the attention by going to hospitals. I'm pretty sure it's just childish attention seeking. I interrupt and shout "Dad! Just open the door!" He often won't wear the hearing aids, because he said they're broken. Yesterday, he asked me for a small eyeglasses-sized screwdriver so that he can "fix" them. They were about $4000. I will continue to forget the screwdriver.

"What, honey?" (A sound of pain. Presumably, he's just sitting at his kitchen table drinking coffee and smoking his pipe.)

"Dad, just go open the door."

"Why? Who is here?"

"The physical therapist," I shout. "Remember? I told you both last night that she was coming at 9 AM..." I spent an hour there in the evening, trying to sort out her pills and the people expected today, and hearing more stories, the same ones I would be hearing today if I was there.

"Oh. So what do you want me to do?" He's not puffing at all now, just perfectly normal. That's why I don't think it is legit.

"Go open the door, please Dad. Right now. She's outside."

He hangs up, probably by accident. Phones are such tricky things!

I know your life is similar to mine. I am really practicing serenity and surrender. It's been less than 90 minutes and NOW I can finally take a shower and start my real work day. Ohmmmmm.

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SeniorStruggles, I enjoyed reading your posting. As frustrating as all of that can be for you, one has to laugh to keep one's sanity. The script alone would make a good comedy for TV :)

Yea, I lived that life.

My father was in AL and his health insurance carrier made it's their life's mission to make it impossible for me to deal with them. No matter how much paperwork I filled out it was never enough for them to deal with me directly. They insisted on a three-way phone call with my father who couldn't hear a damned thing. They also insisted that he answer questions to identify himself... questions she no longer knew the answers to. I called him one time to get him to write down the answers beforehand and he says he needs to get a pencil. Disappears for 5 minutes then returns to the phone. I say "are you ready to write this down?" He says "wait, let me get a pencil....". I feel your pain.

I think these people need to be in at least an AL. I would have been bonkers after this.

A suggestion. Get a key box with a combination. Then when aides and therapist come, you can give them the code and they can get in. Making sure they "HOLLER" when they enter the house. You can change it daily.

If they can't answer the phone I'd suggest you get them one like this

They don't work very well for placing calls but they are sure easypeasy for answering them.

It seems obvious to me that your father and stepmom should not be living by themselves, just by the little you wrote above. Does it not seem obvious to you? Both you and them would have so much more peace if they were living in an assisted living facility, where they would have folks checking on them daily, and others their age to socialize with. I would venture to guess that the phone calls would lessen if not cease.
Unless you want to continue to live in this "paradise," things need to change. I wish you the best.

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